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Legislative News

September 23, 2022

Read the most recent Legislative Brief here.

MassCPAs Fair Share Amendment Ballot Poll Results
Last week, we asked you to take a quick poll on the Fair Share Amendment, which would impose a 4% surtax on income over $1 million. Thank you for taking the time to answer! 

Below are the results:

Based on the low estate tax threshold, how often do you advise wealthy clients to change their domicile from Massachusetts? (200 total clicks)

  • 56% - Sometimes
  • 15% - Never
  • 29% - Always

Should the ballot question pass, how will that impact the advice you give to clients regarding a change in domicile? (163 total clicks)

  • 18% - No Impact
  • 26% - Somewhat More Likely to Recommend
  • 47% - Much More Likely to Recommend
  • 7% - Less Likely to Recommend
  • 2% - N/A

Do you support the Fair Share Amendment? (160 total clicks)

  • 17% - Yes
  • 75% - No
  • 8% - Not Sure

To view a summary of the summary of the proposed Fair Share Amendment, click here.

Massachusetts Auditor Bump Certifies $2.9 Billion in Excess Revenue, Refunds Expected Beginning this November
Last week, State Auditor Suzanne Bump determined the net state tax revenue exceeded the allowable state tax revenue by $2.9 billion, as stipulated by M.G.L. Chapter 62F. According to a press release from the Baker Administration, “eligible taxpayers will receive a credit in the form of a refund that is approximately 13% of their Massachusetts Tax Year 2021 personal income tax liability.” Refunds are expected to be distributed beginning in November 2022. To read the press release, click here. To see what your estimated refund may be, click here

The pending $4 billion economic development bill that contains numerous tax relief proposals, including that to increase the estate tax threshold, is all but certain to be the main topic of discussion on Beacon Hill for the rest of the calendar year. Several legislators we have spoken to over recent weeks seem confident that tax relief in some form will happen this fall. We continue our advocacy efforts on Beacon Hill and will keep you posted on any developments. 

For more information on Auditor Bump’s report, click here.

2022 General Elections Information and Resources
The November 8 Election Day is about seven weeks away. The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Elections Division has all the elections information you need to prepare: 

For more elections information and resources click here
Federal and State Tax News

Guidance for Federal Relief Programs

U.S. Department of Labor Announce Online Portal for Paid Leave Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an online portal through which workers can determine their eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).To view the Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs, click here.

Massachusetts Resources

Department of Public Health (DPH): Click here to read updates from the DPH regarding COVID-19. 

Division of Local Services (DLS): For those who work with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the DLS has a dedicated webpage that provides finance guidance to city and town officials related to the state of emergency. For more information, click here.For urgently needed guidance, please email the DLS.

Older Coverage

Talk of the Town: Tax Relief
The $4 billion economic development bill, which included the $1 billion tax relief package, that failed to pass by the end of the formal legislative sessions last week, has been the subject of conversation in many circles throughout state government, politics and beyond. As we noted last week, tax relief stalled due to a cap on the amount of revenue the state can collect each fiscal year, as stipulated by law established in 1986, and through which Massachusetts taxpayers will receive one-time rebates later this fall. Governor Baker stated he expects taxpayers will receive roughly $3 billion collectively from the state, but the total amount of relief will be known once Auditor Bump certifies the collections. Colin Young of the State House News Service has the latest on the tax talk here.

In August, in an article by The Boston Globe, MassCPAs President and CEO Amy Pitter continued our calls for an update to the state’s estate tax. Legislative leaders have committed to working on this important legislation into the fall and we will continue our advocacy efforts with them to ensure these critical updates are adopted.

A Conversation with the Candidates for Governor of Massachusetts 
The MassCPAs Government Affairs team, in collaboration with Leanne Scott, JD, principal at Baker Newman Noyes (BNN) and chair of the MassCPAs Public Policy Group, interviewed the candidates running for Massachusetts Governor: former State Representative Geoff Diehl, business owner Chris Doughty and Attorney General Maura Healey. 

To read the interview in the July issue of SumNews, click here

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Approves Fair Share Amendment Summary Language 
In a unanimous decision yesterday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled that the summary of the Fair Share Amendment as prepared by the Attorney General’s Office “fairly” describes the amendment and may appear on November’s ballot as currently written. 

The ruling comes after a challenge from business groups claimed the language of the amendment is misleading and would confuse voters as to how and where the money generated from the surtax would be allocated.

The Boston Globe’s Matt Stout has more on the ruling here.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects Gig-Worker Ballot Question
In June, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) rejected the proposed ballot question that would have reclassified Massachusetts gig economy workers. The ballot question, backed by tech industry companies including Uber and Lyft and strongly opposed by labor unions and worker advocates, was sure to be among the most expensive ballot question campaigns this election cycle, alongside the Fair Share Amendment, which would impose a 4% surtax on income over $1 million. 

The Boston Globe's Matt Stout has more on the SJC’s decision here

Massachusetts House Cannabis Bill Decouples the State from Section 280E of the IRC
In May, the Massachusetts House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed cannabis reform legislation that would, in part, decouple Massachusetts from Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and allow for cannabis businesses to take the same business deductions as all other businesses. We were pleased to testify in support of the amendment to decouple from 280E, which you can read here

Thank you to House Revenue Chair Representative Mark Cusack for sponsoring and to Representative David Rogers for co-sponsoring the amendment. We are grateful to the House for adopting the amendment to the legislation. If you missed it, Dan Adams at The Boston Globe has more on the details of the cannabis bill here.  

Special thanks to Charlotte Cathro, CPA, of Cathro LLC and chair of MassCPAs Cannabis Committee, and to our Cannabis Committee for their work and advocacy. We look forward to working with the Legislature to advocate for this amendment to remain in the final bill and passed into law. 

To join our Cannabis Committee, click here.

Influx of Federal Aid to Trigger Spike in Single Audits
As of June 2021, over $5 trillion in federal COVID-19 relief funding has been allocated across the country, of which Massachusetts has received roughly $73 billion, including $13 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) estimates that such an influx of federal aid will lead to 30,000 new single audits. For tips on working with first-time single audit clients, click here. Renee Davis, CPA, a partner at Powers & Sullivan, LLC, and co-chair of MassCPAs' Governmental Accounting & Auditing Committee, had some advice for how to handle these audits, which was featured in our July issue of SumNews.  

Major Update to Workforce Training Fund
Your upcoming CPE with us could be free, thanks to a recent change to the State Workforce Training and Express Fund! All MassCPAs conferences, customized team trainings and seminars qualify for this program, so work with us to save on your CPE. You must be registered and apply for reimbursement three weeks in advance of the course to qualify – act now! To learn more, click here or contact Julia Ekelund. 

Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Fraud Resources
Unemployment Insurance Fraud is on the rise again.If you believe you may have had a false unemployment claim filed using your identity, contact the DUA here or at 877.626.6800. Please stay vigilant.For more information and resources, click here.

Professional Resources

MassCPAs Legislative Brief
This newsletter offers information and resources available through the federal and state governments regarding business loan programs, updates from the Departments of Labor and Health, and news as it relates to the impacts of COVID-19 on the accounting profession, the economy and the Society. Check out past issues here.